fredclausbluEvery year there is a batch of Christmas films that release in theaters and direct to home video. In November 2007, a Christmas film was released with Vince Vaughn that would go on to make $97 million dollars worldwide at the box office. With such huge success at the theaters, Vince Vaughn receives another opportunity at a holiday film this fall with Four Christmases. It has taken Warner Brothers nearly a year since the film was released in theaters to be released on DVD and Blu-ray.

Fred Claus (Vince Vaughn) has had to live in the shadows of his younger brother Nicholas Claus (Paul Giamatti) for so many years. Even worse is how their parents Mama (Kathy Bates) and Papa Claus (Trevor Peacock) treat Fred compared to Nicholas. Fred would move away from his family as he got older due to the favoritism that Nicholas received. With Fred away from his family living in Chicago, he has created a life of his own even though it is not stable. He is dating his girlfriend Wanda (Rachel Weisz) who is a cop that he never pays attention to.

Fred has aspirations to open a new OTB (Off Track Betting) facility in Chicago. Fred is in dire need of $50,000 dollars to open his new business venture. He contacts his brother Nicholas for the money. Nicholas is so excited to hear from his brother that he tells him to come to the North Pole for the loan. It is under one condition that Fred must help his brother in the days leading to Christmas.

Head elf Willie (John Michael Higgins) takes Fred under his wing with the work that must be done. Things start going all wrong when Fred causes all kinds of trouble at the North Pole. It literally ruins Santa’s operation. Adding to the issues is the Efficiency Expert Clyde Northcutt (Kevin Spacey) who is ready to shutdown the operation due to Fred’s negligence. It takes Fred to changing his behavior to save his brother’s operation, yet saving all of Christmas.

‘Fred Claus’ is a fun little holiday film that has Vince Vaughn playing in a PG rated film. It was rather difficult at times viewing Vaughn in this role just for the fact that he was limited on his unique R rated comedic moments. Nonetheless, Vaughn brought certain energy into the role that shows he can star in films that aren’t R rated and still be funny. Paul Giamatti felt like he was miscast in this role as Santa Claus, making it almost feel as if he was bored. Giamatti has shown what a great actor that he can be in different roles. Add Kevin Spacey in the role of the villain, he does a great job as always.

With a PG rating, this is a film that the entire family can enjoy. While the script doesn’t tell the greatest Christmas film ever, it is one that will have you laughing all the way through. There are a few plot holes that were left wide open. There were a few off the wall scenes in the film, but the one that takes the cake had to do with the celebrity brothers at a meeting. The scene featuring siblings of celebrities, including Roger Clinton, Frank Stallone, and Stephen Baldwin was great and fit in with the tale of Fred Claus.
Movie Content: 4.5/5

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC VC-1 with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are very rich and vibrant throughout. Blacks are deep and preserving fine details, especially in the faces of the actors. Fleshtones are natural. There are times where film grain is subtle in some scenes, but gets heavier in darker scenes. The grain never gets intrusive or distracting. Overall the picture quality is pretty good with this release.
Video Quality: 4/5

Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. This is yet another disappointment that TrueHD 5.1 was not used for the Blu-ray. While the Dolby Digital 5.1 is sufficient since this is a comedy, the soundtrack and some of the effects could have really taken advantage of a high resolution audio mix. The rears get a decent amount of work out from effects. The soundfield is immersive when there is music playing from the soundtrack, almost feeling concert like. Dialogue was rather clear through the center channel. There was a few times where the dialogue did sound a little scratchy.
Audio Quality: 3.5/5

Special Features

  • Over 25 Minutes of Merry Additional Scenes
  • Vince and Paul’s Fireside Chats: The Stars Interview Each Other
  • Commentary by Director David Dobkin
  • Ludacrismas Music Video [HD]
  • Pause for Claus: Elves Tell All – Chief Elf Willie’s Inside Scoop on the Clauses and the North Pole Life [HD]
  • Sibling Rivalry: Vince Vaughn, Stephen Baldwin, Roger Clinton, and Frank Stallone [HD]
  • Meet the Other Claus: Behind the Scenes of This Winter Wonderland [HD]
  • Blu-ray Exclusive Bonus Disc – Fred Claus: Race to Save Christmas on DVD
  • Digital Copy

Special Features: 4/5

Final Thoughts

‘Fred Claus’ was a rather fun little Christmas film that won’t go down as a classic, but a film that you can enjoy with the family during the holidays. I am a little bit disappointed that this is yet another release from Warner Brothers without a TrueHD mix.
Overall Rating: 4/5